Alipay is tops in brand recognition in China, according to global marketing consultancy Prophet’s 2018 Brand Relevance Index survey released this week.
Besides Alipay, China’s leading digital-payments platform, two other Alibaba brands were in the top 10 of the annual survey, which polled over 13,000 Chinese living in 47 cities. Taobao–the world’s largest e-commerce platform–was number six, and the brand-oriented Tmall e-commerce platform came in at number 10.
The survey ranked brand recognition based on direct consumer feedback. It focused on four key metrics: customer obsession, practicality, emotional connection and innovation.
“It’s clear to be successful, brands need more than just size and ubiquity. They must create a product that people love enough to integrate into their everyday lives,” said Scott Davis, Prophet’s chief growth officer.
That explains Alipay’s top spot in the list. It’s difficult for any Chinese consumer to live without a mobile-payment option and associated services. AliPay had a 53% share of China’s mobile payment market, as of the third quarter of 2017, according to iResearch. And Chinese consumers are using Alipay while traveling overseas, too. Alipay has served the Chinese consumer not only through frictionless payment, but also with various added services, such as insurance, tax refunds, loans and WiFi packages while they are on a trip. The brand is also constantly innovating: For example, Alipay introduced a “Smile to Pay” function last year, removing the need for scanning or swiping to complete a transaction.
Taobao, heavily favored by China’s millennials, was praised for being their “shopping destination of choice.” The report noted that Taobao made strides on the list because surveyed customers felt the shopping app made their lives easier, and it differentiated itself from its competitors by providing better products and services.
Consumers expressed appreciation for Tmall’s various New Retail innovations, which enhance shopping experiences for the Chinese consumer. Smart speaker Tmall Genie was highlighted as an innovative brand shopping experience.
Hema was the only grocery brand included in the list, which was dominated by brands from the computer and software, social media and internet and financial services sectors. The New Retail Hema stores have elevated property values in nearby neighborhoods because they enabled a more-convenient lifestyle, said the Prophet report. Hema’s 30-minute delivery offering was highlighted as a benefit.
Chinese brands now hold 30 out of 50 spots on the list of most-relevant brands in the world’s second-largest economy. Just two years ago, only 18 Chinese brands made the list. The report said Chinese brands are winning the hearts of local consumers because they now focus on innovation, rather than market penetration and speed as part of their competitive strategy. The report noted that 2018 was the first year in which domestic Chinese brands started to lead on the innovation metrics.